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CD Review: Spank Rock – YoYoYoYoYo

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Having played the name-game for a good six months with my band, I know how difficult choosing a good name can be. The 20 minutes between practice room and my house gave birth to such gems as The Fascists, Whoodini?, and Prostate. With such dazzling creative abilities, I can imagine you’re surprised we were never stars. Spank Rock clearly never had to undergo the trials of weekly 20-minute sessions of name-storming, but I for one, wish they had. Because "Spank Rock" is a crappy name for any band.

Luckily the crap stops here, because two tracks in and I’ve already decided that Spank Rock are The Shit. Pitching in as a more commercially viable Anti-Con, or a slightly more avant-garde Outkast, this is one of the freshest sounding hip-hop albums I’ve heard in a long time.The production works mainly on the staple elements of grime artists like Dizzee Rascal: sub-low bass ("IMC"); the rapid-fire snare of drum 'n' bass ("What It Look Like"); and a generous helping of some weird icy synth distortion ("Chilly Will"). Add to this a seemingly random bag of sound effects and eclectic instrumental choices (watch out for Tarzan and some wild cats on "Touch Me") and you’re getting close to the Spank Rock sound.

Despite the ultra-modern production though, YoYoYoYoYo sounds and feel like an old-skool rap album. "Competition" is like the hip-hop Gulf War: a laser guided mic-fight without any sign of opposition. "Bump" comes across like a Run DMC remix, and "Far Left" carries more than a hint of Afrika Bambaataa’s electro-funk. Spank Rock (the MC) flow’s like a man in awe of Q-Tip, with opener "Backyard Betty" sounding like an Aphex Twin glitch-disco version of "Breath and Stop", while the man himself outlines his intentions for the bitches littered all over his house (including those in his closet).

Despite the assertions on the band's MySpace site that their music sounds like “fat girls in the hot tub”, there’s so much more to this than bitches and ho’s ghetto sexism. This is undoubtedly a great party album, and even better than that, one that has enough substance to allow you to keep you listening after the break of dawn. If you’re constantly being threatened for putting Madlib on the soundsystem at your block’s little get-togethers (I know I am, despite not living on a block or being invited) then lay your hands on this.

by Keith Patterson

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